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WSRC leads the nation in safely disposing of radioactive waste

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You won't see Washington Savannah River Co. (WSRC) use commercials with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. We aren't selling software.

You won't see our company's name on the side of car in a major racing series. We're not the kind of business that needs that type of attention.

What WSRC does is deliver results in an area important to you and our nation. We are disposing of radioactive liquid waste in unique ways.

Consider just these three examples:

OUR GLASSIFICATION facility, called the Defense Waste Processing Facility, turns intensely radioactive waste into a glass form, immobilizing it. In its 12 years of operation, DWPF had its most productive month last month, producing 26 canisters of waste -- at more than two tons of waste material per canister. In 10 years, we'll have more than 4,000 canisters complete and ready to ship to a federal repository.

WE HAVE A NEW process that extricates certain radioactive waste, called "salt," from our waste tanks, separating it into lower-level and higher-level radioactive streams. This new system, known as the Actinide Removal Process/Modular Caustic Side Solvent Extraction Unit, began operation in April. It makes the Savannah River Site the only location in the U.S. Department of Energy Complex disposing of this salt waste material. In five years, we'll process more than 7 million gallons of salt waste materials out of our tanks.

WE'RE ON SCHEDULE to close four, 750,000-gallon waste tanks in 2010, years ahead of the state's Federal Facility Agreement. Our tank closures are the only ones occurring at DOE sites.

In 10 years, 14 of the waste tanks will be permanently closed.

If you think that's impressive, consider that WSRC's parent company, URS Washington Division, also has a specialized core cadre of expertise who provide waste disposition solutions for our corporation's liquid waste contracts in Washington, Idaho and New York. Being in charge of most of the country's legacy liquid radioactive waste means we have an excellent opportunity to bring many resources together to solve our nation's liquid waste issues -- before it spoils the environment or threatens human health.

WE ARE DRIVING technology development, applying lessons learned, integrating necessary resources and bringing project management approaches that will give rise to better planning and execution.

In addition, URS Corp. has an international flavor since it was recently awarded a major cleanup contract in the United Kingdom. That's even more expertise we look forward to importing to SRS.

THE GOOD NEWS IS that all this work starts with South Carolina. The Savannah River Site's liquid waste program, operated by the Washington Savannah River Co., brings innovative ideas, sound expertise and qualified experience to keep SRS safe and environmentally responsible.

We are also good stewards who continue to support the community, especially in educational endeavors. It's our achievements, coupled with our caring, that you expect from us.

Our company has been here for over 19 years. You know us. And you know we deliver results safely.

That's our best advertisement.

(Editor's note: The writer is Washington Savannah River Co. President.)


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